this is gonna be weird

Ven vendersleighc at
Fri Nov 19 20:39:40 EST 2004

OK I'm gonna put my hands up here I'm one of
those people who doesn't get fanfic. It's kind of
hard to talk about this because I don't want to
be insulting to those of you that are into it or
sound superior or anything but I'm afraid that my
usual attitude when reading fanfic is "yes, very
nice, but isn't there something better I could be
doing?". Mind you I have the same reaction to all
those sequels by another hand that crop up.
Someone in the Guardian the other week was
writing about Peter Pan sequels and said they
thought it was akin to treating Peter like a used
tea bag which you were trying to make another pot
out of, which struck me as rather apt. And now
I'm imagining a great deal of indignation being
aimed in my direction......... it is not a matter
of old teabags I hear you saying but of taking a
recipe and making something new from the
ingredients........ or some other analogy

I've tried Buffy fanfic, some stuff by a friend
(who isn't on this list but I won't specify
further) read a few Star Trek novels and picked
up some of the conventions (Mary Sues, canon and
so on). I've even written some, way back in my
teens, before we knew anyone else has thought of
it, my friends and I used to while away boring
lessons with rambling stories about Dr Who and
Star Trek. The only one I remember had Kirk and
Spock meeting John Peel in a chip shop. My latest
foray was inspired by this recent thread. I read
the Three Friends story and the two by Roseveare
that were recomended and d'ya know I preferred
the Three Friends! Roseveare's stories, well
written as they were,  had a sterile feel and
they depended on the conventions to understand
them -- if I hadn't known about slash and if the
author hadn't introduced them as such I wouldn't
have had a clue what was going on. And ultimately
I just rejected them -- no matter how cleverly
evoked, so far as I was concerned this wasn't
Chrestomanci and I didn't want it to be. The
Three Mary Sues, oops Friends, were actually a
lot more fun, I had less trouble with DWJs
characters as secondary characters for them to
bounce off and I just enjoyed the frankly off the
wallness of it. Their teacher was a tree and they
weren't taking any Witch of the Waste dissing
trees -- ha ha.

Minnow wrote:

> Seems to me that either it's derivative, which 
I suppose it's fair to give
> warning about so those of us who like our 
fiction a bit original can be
> warned and avoid it, or it isn't, in which case

why not let us know that
> it
> isn't a hack re-write of something we enjoyed 
before it was regurgitated?


<I'm not sure if I'm reading you right, but I
wanted to point out that
most fanfiction *doesn't* re-tell the original 
story, so it's not a hack
rewrite in that sense. (And the world is old 
enough now that almost all
fiction is going to fall somewhere between 
'completely derivative' and
'completely original'...)

Love, Ika (priding herself on not mentioning 
*Wide Sargasso Sea*, for
once... d'oh!)>

I'm going to fall into a trap here so I'll just
point out that I know it, I'm going to say that
if it's "proper fiction" it's not fanfic........
I see a difference between mnaking new fiction by
taking communal cultural artifacts like Norse
gods and the mad wife in the attic (even a
specific mad wife in a particular attic)  and 
using somebody else's teabags. 

Having written that, I think I see work that is
communally authored in the first place as
different again. The Buffyverse, Star Trek etc
are closer to being my communal cultural
artifacts I suppose than single authored


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